Domestic Homicides on the Rise in Texas

Ersela Demerson, Family Support Services Shelter
Ersela Demerson, Family Support Services Shelter

by: Kristen Guilfoos
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - Domestic homicides are on the rise in Texas, and agencies in the Panhandle are working to prevent more area women from becoming victims.

136 Texas women died at the hands of their significant others in 2008. That's up thirty percent from 2007.

The annual Texas "Women Killed List" released on Wednesday shows three of the victims are from the Panhandle... One in Tulia, one in Hereford and a third in Amarillo.

The Family Support Services Shelter in Amarillo is seeing an increase in women who are in danger of becoming a domestic homicide victim.

Shelter Manager Ersela Demerson says, "Their partners, their husbands, their boyfriends have threatened to kill them. They have no where else to go and they don't feel safe. They fear for their life."

Support Services says the most important thing a woman in that situation needs is a personal safety plan, so that's the first thing they go over when talking with a domestic violence victim.

Family Support Services Angie Stovall says that involves "making sure they have a cell phone on their body at all times, making sure they have a contact person they can call, someplace they can go that's safe, making sure that they pack a bag in case they have to leave."

Demerson says these days there are more women who need an escape plan... But says it's still a problem that is all too often swept under the rug.

"It's out of sight, out of mind. People don't really see it all the time, so they don't think about it, but it could be happening to their next door neighbor, their church member, their co-worker."

No on is too young to be a victim of domestic homicide... The youngest Texas victim in 2008 was just 14 years old.